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Baird, Wilhelmina

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of Scottish author Joyce Carstairs Hutchinson (1935-    ), who began publishing sf with "Mantrap" for New Worlds in June 1961, writing this and other early work as by Kathleen James; she soon became inactive in the field, however, returning only as Wilhelmina Baird with the Cass sequence of novels set in a noirish Cyberpunk-like Near Future England, and comprising CrashCourse (1993), ClipJoint (1994) and PsyKosis (1995). Her heroine – whose name refracts both Cassandra and Case, the protagonist of William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984) – lives as a thief in a culture divided into Aris, Arts, Techs and Umps (the great majority, who are permanently unemployed); but soon becomes involved in "feeliefilms" and after getting rich is prepared, in the sequels, to adventure off-Earth. The language throughout is alert, savvy in the expected noir fashion, and funny. A fourth novel, Chaos Comes Again (1996), uses the Space Opera arena to stage a succession of casually connected romps through Alternate History on the part of an interstellar agent chasing her lover and villains with the aid of a ship that talks, naggingly. Baird now lives in France. [JC]

Joyce Carstairs Hutchinson

born Dunfermline, Fife: 16 February 1935

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